Father’s Day Gift Guide

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend. Today, I’m bringing you an epic Father’s Day gift guide. One of the things that I hear time and time again is how difficult it is to buy gifts for men. Since Father’s Day is right around the corner, I thought I’d help you guys out. Here are just a few fabulous gifts for the dad, dad-to-be, or granddad in your life:

Today, I'm bringing you an epic Father's Day gift guide. Here are just a few fabulous gifts for the dad, dad-to-be, or granddad in your life.

1. The August Diet Print: Old Try is one of my favorite under-the-radar places to find unique prints. This one, an homage to The Masters at August National, is sure to keep a smile on Dad’s face.

2. Sid Mashburn Low Top Slip-Ons: Slip-ons are essentially synonymous with summer. These from Sid Mashburn are a great price point and are so stylish.

3. Men and Style: Speaking of style, if you’re gifting something to the stylish man in your life, look no further than Men and Style which covers history of men’s style through essays and interviews.

4. Wood Coasters: Give your dapper dad these wooden plaid coasters for his man cave. They come as a set of 12 which means there’s enough to go around at the poker table.

5. Crosley Turn Table: If your dad has a collection of old records collecting dust somewhere, this turn-table is exactly what he needs. Give those dusty records their groove back!

xo, Nicole

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend here again bringing you your last minute Mother’s Day gift guide for any last minute shopping. Just in case you’ve forgotten, Mother’s Day is this Sunday, but with quick shipping, there’s still time to get her something special.

When it comes to shopping this week, think about places you can either pick-up a gift (I love the “pick-up in store” options so many places have now), or have shipped to you (or mom!) quickly. And of course, you can’t go wrong with flowers!


1. This/That & Bits/Bobs pouches: Anthropologie always has such a great selection of little gifts and things. These pouches would be perfect for traveling abroad to collect loose change and foreign currency.

2. Photography Workshop: What mom wouldn’t love a trip of a lifetime to learn how to use her camera and explore Italy at the same time? Go in with your siblings (and maybe your dad, too) to gift mom one of Annette’s style+photo workshops!

3. Copper Tea Kettle: There’s something about sipping hot tea in the spring and summer that’s so refreshing. This copper tea kettle is gorgeous and can be kept out on the stove for extra kitchen pizzazz.

4. Pool House Candle: Candles are fun to gift because they’re something people rarely buy for themselves. These Lafco candles are large, so they make a great piece for a coffee table, but their size also means they burn for 90 hours!

5. Polish Set + Mani/Pedi Date: Give mom a mani/pedi with you along with a stunning collection of summer polishes to keep her toes beach ready all season.

6. Straw hat: A wide brim straw hat is perfect for the mom who loves to be outdoors. She can use it in her garden, at the beach, or anywhere else she’d like!


Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms and moms-to-be out there!

xo, Nicole

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My Holiday Gift Guide


I love this time of year. I am a gift giver, and there are some really great ones on the market this year.

I wanted to share some of the things I will be gifting this year in my annual gift guide.

There’s something for everyone. Great gifts for your man, your kids’ teachers, your BFF, and of course, a little something for you.

1. For You! Style Photo Workshop in TuscanyBe sure to add one of my Style Photo Workshops in Tuscany to your wish list. You’ll get to visit the Fortress, drink wine in our vineyard, and learn from the best of the best. Treat yourself!

2. For Him! Men and Style Book by David Coggins: From Amazon: Men and Style reaches beyond standard “what to wear” advice: It is equal parts style guide and intriguing conversation about the masculine identity within the world of fashion. David Coggins explores the history of men’s style and learns from some of the most notable tastemakers in the industry and beyond. Its essays and interviews discuss the lessons men learned from their fathers, the mistakes they made as young men, and how they emerged to become better men. Some of the most dapper men in the world discuss bad mustaches, misguided cologne choices, and unfortunate prom tuxedos. All the men here have arrived at a place in the world and have a keen understanding about how they fit in it. Men and Style celebrates singular men who’ve lived well and can tell us about how they earned their worldview. They’re smart enough to absorb the wisdom that’s hidden in the world, and even smarter to wear that wisdom lightly.

3. For your BFF! Williams Sonoma Copper Corkscrew: Never underestimate the power of a well-made corkscrew in a beautiful finish. This one would be great for your BFF or make a wonderful hostess gift throughout the season. 

4. For the Teacher! Sling Shot Coffee Caramels: Give the teachers something sweet and something delicious. These are reasonably priced if your student has several teachers, or you can add them to a big basket of other goodies.

5. For your Hairdresser! Scandinavisk Candle: Girls, let’s be honest: our hairdressers are our lifelines; we couldn’t do life without them. When you’re making your list this year, pick up a candle or two for your beauty team.

6. For the Jet-Setter! Herbivore Rose Mist: Rose water is a fantastic pick-me-up, especially after a long day of travel. A little spritz of this will leave her feeling refreshed.

7. For the Business Owner! In the Company of Women: From Amazon: Across the globe, women are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and starting creative businesses. In the Company of Women profiles over 100 of these influential and creative women from all ages, races, backgrounds, and industries. Chock-full of practical, inspirational advice for those looking to forge their own paths, these interviews detail the keys to success (for example, going with your gut; maintaining meaningful and lasting relationships), highlight the importance of everyday rituals (meditating; creating a daily to-do list), and dispense advice for the next generation of women entrepreneurs and makers (stay true to what you believe in; have patience). The book is rounded out with hundreds of lush, original photographs of the women in their work spaces.

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Flea Marketing in the Lunigiana region of Italy

Flea Market

As many of you already know, we are renovating a medieval fortress in Lunigiana. It’s a region so close to Liguria, but considered Toscana. Close to Carrara, (where the marble is from) and only a few hours north of Florence, 1 hour from Parma; it’s sort of the perfect location. The best part is that it’s not a major tourist destination which makes it authentic and uncrowded. The very best part is that the flea markets and antique vendors have tons of amazing goods not yet picked through like major shopping destinations. You can still find unique items at great prices. Of course, NO English is spoken, you can only bargin in Italian which makes it all that much more fun, and of course lively.

The last couple of weeks, I have been dealing with the start of our BIG fortress renovation, plus purchasing the furnishings and finishes. We took a little break from the nuts and bolts of the reno and headed out for a wonderful roadside adventure: flea marketing along the coastline of Italy.

Only 45 minutes away on side roads (1/2 hour via the autostrada), we wound up at a treasure trove of goodies. I hunt with my BFF Forrest (he’s also part of Style Photo Workshops Team) and his boyfriend who’s the best picker I have ever encountered, and he happens to be an Italian prince, so his taste is off the chain. As we entered the joint, 14 chairs leaned against the wall – metal folding chairs that – I snatched them up for the Workshop Studio.

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Then Forrest headed one way, I headed another, and the Prince headed to the garden. Quickly I heard Roberto call out, “Annette come into the garden” (in Italian of course). In the darkest corner of the garden, I found him pointing at an iron bed. Headboard and footboard with delicate swirls. “The bed is complete,” he said. “All the nuts and bolts and frame are here.” “Fantastic,” I said. “It’s the perfect size for the guest bedroom.”



We found it priced well, too. All we need to do is build a frame for the mattress. Old beds do not have the stability for a mattress since the mattress that most likely fit this bed was made of straw like a giant pillow. Good thing I have a great iron artisan at my disposal here in Italy.

As I get to know my new neighborhood in Italy, these flea markets are the perfect place to take our workshop attendees next summer. I will be continuing my tour of flea markets over the next months with my impeccable tour guides. Indeed I am a lucky girl.

I invite you to follow along on my Italian Renovation adventure on instagram.

Happy hunting xx

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Roundtop TX, The Antique Show that is Texas B I G

props props props; I bought lots of great utensils for upcoming styling workshops.

props props props; I bought lots of great utensils for upcoming styling workshops.

Have you ever wanted to do something for many years, and then finally you are there, and it’s bigger and better than you imagined? Well that was my experience last weekend when I finally attended the Roundtop Antiques Show, in Roundtop TX. I am super lucky. My sweet designer friend, Kelly, who lives and works in Texas, was my amazing tour guide. In Roundtop, a tour guide is worth its weight in gold. It’s big; TEXAS B I G!!! So knowing where to start, and where to quit was extremely valuable.

We started at the Marburger Farm series of tents and buildings chocked full of antique dealers from all over the country. They were beautifully appointed booths filled to the brim with antiques from all over the globe.

Marburger Farm

Marburger Farm is a great first stop

hunting trophy collection

Amazing finds like this hunting trophy collection from Germany

Wear your cowboy boots; it's dusty and dirty.

Wear your cowboy boots; it’s dusty and dirty.

We spent about 3 hours walking from tent to tent. We hit the Uncommon Objects tent, and then went to Ex-Cess, where I found things from Marrakech and Hungary. Roundtop is something that should be on your bucket list if you’re like me and love beauty and interesting wares. I will say wear your cowboy boots as it’s dusty, drink plenty of water, and don’t over do it. Roundtop would take a few weeks to see everything, so curate your tour, and if you can, go with an expert. Thanks to Kelly for the fantastic day. I will never forget it, and I will be back. xx

One of my regrets is not buying one of these cleavers...

One of my regrets is not buying one of these cleavers…

One pro tip is to buy items as you see them because you most likely will not go back to buy them. I will say, I did not follow my own advice as these cleavers are something I should have picked up. But it’s a great reason to go back in the spring, right?  If you want to see my Roundtop day on Instagram, check me out here, to see what I bought.

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